Guyana, Suriname working to resume ferry service

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MV Canawaima

The authorities in Guyana and Suriname are working to have the ferry service between the two countries resumed as early as possible and are exploring a temporary arrangement to fill the gap.

During a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Paramaribo on Tuesday, both Presidents Irfaan Ali and Chandrikapersad Santokhi related that the issue was part of the agenda during engagements between the two sides and it was agreed that the Working Group will commence steps immediately to have the matter resolved.

It has been months since the Canawaima Ferry has been out of operation. There was also no meeting recently by the two Boards to work to find a solution.

“There will be change on that situation,” President Santokhi declared.

The Suriname Head of State disclosed that it was agreed that the issue of the Canawaima Ferry will be on the agenda for some time and the working group will start discussions in the coming days.

“The direction the two Presidents have provided is firstly; that is there is a technical report designed by the Maritime Authority of Suriname which had carried out an examination of the vessel; so the two Boards should come together in the coming week, and to look at the report and based on the report, set out a timeline to bring that vessel to the dry dock in Paramaribo.

He added that once it goes to the dry-dock the two leaders will have to get advice from the Boards as to how they should move forward.

Heads of State, His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and H.E. Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname along with First Ladies H.E. Arya Ali and H.E. Mellisa Santokhi-Seenacherry pose for an official photograph (Office of the President).

President Santokhi further revealed it was agreed that efforts will be made to involve the public and private sectors of both countries to look for solutions, this includes having a temporary vessel resume operations until a decision is made regarding the Canawaima Ferry.

President Ali is currently on an official visit to the Republic of Suriname over the period November 23 to 26, 2020.

The Head of State has been engaged in discussions with his Surinamese counterpart to build on the issues advanced during the visit of President Santokhi to Guyana last August.

The two Leaders on Tuesday finalised agreements to advance the proposal for the construction of the Corentyne River Bridge and establish a new mechanism for enhanced dialogue and cooperation.

The President and First Lady are being accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd and Public Infrastructure Minister Juan Edghill. This is President Ali’s first overseas State visit since his inauguration.

The Republic of Suriname will celebrate the 45th Anniversary of its Independence on November 25. An Extraordinary Session of the National Assembly will be convened at which time President Ali will deliver a congratulatory message.

Formal diplomatic relations between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Republic of Suriname were established on November 25, 1975.